Buckled Bamboo Floor Angle View
Incorrect installation.

The pros and cons of bamboo flooring are something that every prospective buyer should know before deciding if it's for them. Otherwise, this can happen --->

Don't be alarmed at the picture you see. This is to show you what will happen if things are not done correctly with this floor.

This buckling was one of several spots throughout the entire floor. It did not occur because of a flood or a burst pipe. This happened because the previous installers did not take the necessary precautions when installing this bamboo floor.

Precautions that I will highlight for you in this article to hopefully stop you from making the same mistake!

I'll then provide you with some helpful tips on what to do and not do when installing your floor.

My intention is not to scare you away from this product as I think it's one of the most beautiful and sustainable floors you can buy.

I'm merely pointing out some very crucial steps you must take to ensure you're happy with the result. So put these on your checklist, and you will not have a problem.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

Bamboo flooring is stunning and exotic. It's been a choice for many people for a long time. A common question folks ask is the difference between vertical and horizontal bamboo. The difference is in the construction of the floor. Horizontal bamboo has a signature etched look about it, with random markings throughout each plank. Vertical bamboo has straight up and down striations. They come in both carbonized and natural finishes, suitable for different areas and applications. You can also get bamboo in many other stains, including red, blue, gray, brown, and I've even seen black.

Technically it's not a wood, but actually, grass and folks have been attracted to its beauty whether it's carbonized, horizontal, strand woven, hand-scraped - whatever the style, it certainly is beautiful to look at. It is environmentally friendly, so anyone with a green agenda naturally gravitates towards it.

Since this product generally glues down to your subfloor, it's very quiet to walk on. Contrary to other types of flooring like laminate or even click vinyl plank that floats, you will not get a hollow sound unless you don't pre the subfloor correctly.

Even though it's not technically a hardwood, realtors and buyers alike love the exotic look and feel of bamboo flooring. It adds instant value to your home instead of carpet or laminate flooring.

Cons:

Moisture mitigation is the most critical factor to consider when buying bamboo flooring. I'm going to expand on this below, but please note, bamboo flooring is affected by moisture more than any other floor I know. The formula is straightforward: it will not be a problem if you install it correctly, but it will be if it's not. Strand woven bamboo is the flagship of the product line, in my opinion, because it's incredibly dense and hard to the point that it is much harder than a lot of conventional hardwood flooring.

The differences in manufacturing processes make non-strand woven bamboo much softer than its counterpart; hence, they can get banged up pretty easily. This doesn't mean you shouldn't install it on this factor alone. It means to select the type of bamboo depending on the use and lifestyle of the area. So if it's a small boutique store aimed at the older segment; or an apartment with just you in it, then it'll be fine. It will not be suitable for a very active household with many pets, kids, and guests.

Since bamboo flooring manufacturers almost always recommend a special adhesive and sealer, it's a little bit more labor-intensive than conventional hardwood flooring, so you pay more.

If you're not in a hurry, this won't be too inconvenient, but I strongly recommend you acclimate solid bamboo for two weeks before installation. For engineered bamboo flooring, acclimate according to the manufacturer's instructions - but add an extra day. I will explore this portion in more detail below.

Top 4 Tips For Installing Bamboo Flooring

Here is another angle of that bamboo floor that went horribly wrong.

Bamboo Floor Buckled Side ViewIt buckled so severely that it was a trip hazard, and when you walked over it, the boards had wholly separated from the concrete subfloor so you could bounce on it. Here are five quick tips to help you avoid this situation:

1. Moisture Testing

First and foremost is before even considering laying your floor down, you should take a moisture meter and test the concrete floor. Please do not confuse a cheap handheld moisture meter you can get from Lowe's or Home Depot, which measures other materials like sheetrock and wood.

Make sure it can measure concrete moisture content.

These meters are very different and considerably more expensive, but the cost savings of replacing an entire floor due to not doing this are significant.

If you or your installer don't have one, get a professional-grade one here.

I use the Ligno Scanner SDM and Tramex. Both are excellent devices that will give you accurate readings:

The Ligno Scanner SDM measures many different materials based on your input.

Since I do a lot of hardwood flooring, it was vital for me to get a two-in-one device that can give readings of both the subfloor and the material rather than juggle two different devices for different materials.

The Tramex gives both audio and visual signals when it detects excess moisture with a visible light and beeping noise:

Tramex Moisture Meter

2. Acclimation

Depending on the product, I advise clients to acclimate their bamboo for two weeks before installation. This does not mean to store it in the garage!

The material should be inside the house under normal living conditions.

If it's new construction, ensure the installation of all doors and windows is complete and the HVAC running for at least 48 hours before acclimating it. All tape and bedding, texturing, and paint should also be done.

The painting process releases a lot of moisture in the air, so it needs time to dissipate.

Once all of these are done, place the bamboo inside the home. Remember, if it's a solid product, I will not leave it in there for less than two weeks before installation.

3. Sealer

Whether it's strand woven or otherwise, Bamboo is extremely sensitive to subfloor moisture.

Installing it over a wet slab guarantees problems very quickly.

Even if the readings show the slab to be bone dry, I still take all precautions with this floor. That means to seal the slab with a concrete sealer to mitigate any possible moisture down the road.

I have been to dozens of bamboo jobs where the installer didn't do this, and the floors buckled each time.

Seal the slab with the manufacturer's recommended product, or in the case, they don't specify one, you can't go wrong with either Titebond or BoneDry.

4. Adhesive

This isn't negotiable.

Using the manufacturer's recommended adhesive protects you on many levels.

These are urethane-based adhesives, and most of them come with moisture retarding properties.

Just be sure to use the correct trowel if you're using it as a moisture barrier. Check the product's instructions since each differs but generally, you use a smaller trowel when using it as a two-in-one.

You use more product, but you get two layers of protection. I have yet to see a bamboo floor fail when the installers implemented both of these measures.

Final Thoughts

Even though these measures may sound tedious, trust me when I tell you it's going to save you a lot of headaches down the road.

Many installers are not familiar with how bamboo reacts and don't know the correct methods. So following this checklist means you have recourse should anything go wrong.

If a manufacturer sees that you did all the right things and their product fails, then they will be compelled to compensate you.

However, if you do not adhere to the installation standards or manufacturer's guidelines, they will wash their hands very quickly of the problem, and you're left with an expensive mistake.

Do the right things by your bamboo floor, get it installed correctly, and you'll enjoy it for many years to come.

You can browse a wide range of bamboo flooring here.

I hope this overview helps!

A customer asked my thoughts on Felt Right acoustic felt wall tiles, and I didn't know what they were on about.

I reviewed kitchen, wall, and backsplash tiles and thought I covered every material possible.

Wrong.

So I did some research to discover a refreshingly good, American-made product perfectly made for DIYer's. Depending on your project, you can finish it in an hour/afternoon and transform your space.

This video gives you a quick snapshot of what this product is about, and I expand on it below.

Customizable Acoustic Felt Wall Designs For Your Home Or Office

If you have a large, boring blank wall at home, studio or office, but you're unsure how to decorate it, Felt Right acoustic felt wall tiles offer a unique solution. 

They're affordable, elegant, and provide sound dampening to make the interior look and feel more stylish. 

The main benefits of these tiles:

These sound minimizing solutions were not so popular in the past, and no one thought this material (which I'll get to in a second) would be a sound-busting novelty. However, PET felt designers came up with acoustic wall tiles that check all the boxes.

The fundamental advantage Felt Right offers is the customization of your designs so you can change the entire look of an area whenever you like.

What I Liked

PET- Sustainable, Durable, and Long-lasting Felt Wall Design 

Acoustic wall tile graphic with woman
Customize Great Accent Designs

As someone big on protecting the planet, this was a big check for me.

Made from recycled plastic bottles (100% PET), they're pressed and sewn together to build a lightweight, soft, and durable material. They have a soft, wool-like appearance and bring a certain warmth to a room.

There is no ceramic, porcelain, glass, marble, or any other wall tile material you're used to in this product.

Each of the Felt Right tiles contains four recycled bottles created using the sun's heat energy.

These wall tiles in different shapes and sizes last forever. PET is also recyclable and ultraviolet resistant that makes it a blessing in the era of sustainability.

You can pin and repin as many times as you want, and there will be no damage to the tiles as a result.

 

Effortless Installation, Minimize Noise While Retaining the Style

The tiles are effortless to install yourself. There's no mixing thinset, no grout, or special prep, and you can finish your project in hours.

PET felt panels consume sound with a .35 noise reduction coefficient. That is one of the highest absorption levels for a non-soundproofing material. 

This means you get beautiful tiles that aren't only stunning to look at but operate like soundproofing materials.

 

Choose From Varieties Of Casual & Formal Styles

Felt Right customized wall styles are stylish and elegant that add texture, warmth, and acoustic to any wall.

The chamfered edges make the seams practically disappear. You have three options to select from:

  1. Pick something from one of their or their customer's designs
  2. Customize an existing design
  3. Make your own

The added flexibility ensures you will find something right for your space.

Felt Right’s felt wall panels are perfect for any occasion.

 

What Could Be Improved

 

 

Shipping

Most orders take 1 to 2 days. For large orders or customized tiles, that can extend to 5 business days. Also, if you are not 100% satisfied with the product, you can return it within 100 days after your buy it. 

 

Quick Snapshot Of Featured Designs

After going through many design options of Felt Right (they have hundreds of them), here are some popular selections to get you started. 

 

Blue argyle acoustic tile on wall
Classic Blue Argyle Option

Argyle Styles

Blue Argyle

The design of blue argyle is a classic sweater pattern.

You can get an elegant, bold design with three shades of blue colors against neutral grey.

You can customize this design anywhere in your interior design, and the 20 square feet of the tiles have a sound absorption system that is as good as it can get.  

These fantastic tiles’ color patterns come in nickel, sky, and oxford. 

 

Argyle

Want to get a classic and organized look, then the argyle design will be perfect for the process. It is ideal to set up your accessories and jewelry to your eye level to prepare you for the day. 

These tiles come in two different colors: cashmere cross and the other is timber cross. 

 

Ruby and Raspberry Argyle

Want a trendy look for your bedroom? I found a stunning argyle pattern perfect for getting a cozy reading corner or wherever close meetings or conversations happen. 

The patterns come in two beautiful colors: ruby and raspberry.

 

Aqua Argyle

I used to love wearing argyle pattern sweaters in my old school days.

Here, Felt Right created classic patterns for you to set your home, office, or studio. The bright and funky design can go with any space, and it has all the fantastic sound absorption features. 

You can find these three tiles colors aqua, cayman, and admiral.

 

Browse The Argyle Series Here

 

Artist Series

Green Screen

Give your home office or streaming area a little Hollywood magic with the green screen design. It is the best way to transform your video call background for your important meetings. 

Also, it’s the perfect wall tile for video artists, social media influencers, and streamers with the added advantage of sound dampening.

The wall tile’s color pattern comes in the fresh lime blank. 

 

Small shaded mountain design
Unique Backdrop

Mountain and Nature

Large Shaded Mountain

The Large shaded mountain is one of the more popular designs of Felt Right.

This rich acoustic felt wall patterns could turn any room into an elegant wall design.

It is perfect for adding to your living room, meeting space, TV, and any space that requires high-level acoustics and immersive sight. 

These tiles come in the following colors, nickel, mineral, cast, armor, and ebony. 

 

Sunset Gradient

In the summer season, we all love to go to the beach to feel the sun.

So, why not make a sunset gradient wall art for your interiors design. Whether it is a decorative inspiration board or wall art, it’s perfect for giving your interior a creative, modern look. 

It comes in different colors and patterns like lavender, ruby, aries, oxford, admiral, citrine, and sky. 

 

Browse The Mountain & Nature Series Here

 

Falling block acoustic wall tile
Tetris Office. I Want One.

Pixel Art

Falling Block Art

If you want to create a decoration for the entire wall that is equally sound-absorbing and looks creative, look no further.

A Full Falling Block Art (Tetris!) is the perfect choice for you.

The color combinations enhance creativity and problem solving while creating fun and lightheartedness. The best thing about this design is you can continuously change your fell wall art. 

This tile comes in eight different colors: cayman, aries, lavender, ebony, ruby, fresh lime, citrine, and kiwi. 

 

 

Inspiration Board

Colorful Beach

Surfaces are bound to pop up with this cheerful design with bold colors, and most importantly, it can fit anywhere you want.

Its colors can highlight the kitchen, and you can easily pin your reminders and quality recipes on it.

It comes with six different tiles variants with three colors, citrine, kiwi, and sky, to help you decorate your desired place.

 

Aqua Kiwi Desk Organizer

The Aqua Kiwi Desk Organizer utilizes a two-color scheme to help you focus on your tasks and a good place to hang your upcoming tasks. It has sound-absorbing felt panels that do not require too much space.

Aqua Kiwi Desk Organizer is available in two colors: Aqua Shiplap, and the other one is Kiwi Half.

Its striking design is very suitable for sketches, calendars, reminders, and meeting notes.

 

Triangle

Grapefruit Triangle Art Wall

The fizzy grapefruit juice of a hot summer afternoon is the best thing you can get for chilling in the hot weather.

The grapefruit triangle art is equally refreshing to look at, and the geometric shapes give a creative look to your boring wall.  

The color combination of the wall tiles is coral, moon, aries, and zinc. 

 

Dark blue herringbone acoustic felt wall tile
Striking Look

Herringbone

Dark Blue Herringbone

Dark Blue Herringbone is a fresh take on the classic design of herringbone.

The herringbone design is stunning as it adds traditional richness to any workspace.

It has 45-degree angles and made from Shiplap tiles set to have a wonderful color palette. It has four color variants: cast, oxford, admiral, and sky.

Browse All Series Here

Shipping

Most of the orders can only take 1 to 2 days.

For large orders or customized tiles, that can extend to 5 business days. Also, if you are not 100% satisfied with the product, you can return it within 100 days after your buy it. 

 

Easy Installation 

Tape Measure

To install, you need a tape measure with a pencil and a level.

When you have aligned your first couple of tiles, the design should fall into place a lot easier. Most designs do not take more than an hour to complete but even the more elaborate ones shouldn't take more than an afternoon.

Adhesive Tabs

Every order of Felt Right tiles comes with enough adhesive tabs for installation. You do not have to worry if you lose them because there are plenty. 

 

How To Clean Felt Right Tiles?

The wall panels of Felt Right Tiles are effortless to clean and maintain.

To remove dust, you need a hose or a vacuum wand. As for spot cleaning, you need a rag or household cleaner to spray the specific spot and wipe. 

Disinfecting any high-traffic areas can be done with the usual cleaning products. 

Is it Possible to Relocate Tiles?

Yes!

They put in extra adhesive tabs in every order.

You can use those additional tabs to reposition one or two tiles during the installation process. If you have to relocate more tiles, you can order extra adhesive squares.

Final Thoughts

Felt Right customer reviewsThis is one of the coolest, fun, and most novel products I've reviewed.

Folks definitely enjoy this product and its versatility gives you options not found in conventional wall tile.

They don't have large slabs or an extensive range in some categories yet, but with some imagination (get your kid's feedback) it should be a fun affair.

Felt Right acoustic tiles don't eliminate noise but reduce it significantly, so you feel a noticeable difference.

You can customize Felt Right acoustic tiles to fit your needs without messing with conventional setting materials.

There's something for everyone with these tiles - both kids and adults will find a look they love.

I hope this review has been helpful.

Is Your Dog Running Outside?

As a huge dog lover, I see them daily in client homes, giving me insight into just how dogs run so many people's lives.

I've dealt with just about every breed imaginable, from the tiniest cup dogs to towering Great Danes, and they can all damage your floors if running in and out of your home is typical behavior.

dog on staircase
Iz Door Open?!

One of the most common things I see folks struggle with is stopping their dogs from running outside as soon as the front door opens.

Almost immediately after sensing their chance, they quickly accelerate towards the door or even zip around inside like they're possessed, tearing up the floors in the process.

So I just thought to share my personal experiences that might help you stop your dog from running outside (of course, I'm not a dog trainer but if you're looking for a fool-proof A-B-C program, then check out Adrienne Farricelli's training.)

I'm just sharing what's worked with me for both large and small dog breeds.

Chances are if your dog runs outside at its first opportunity, that's not the only behavioral problem they give you or will give you in the future.

While some may think it's funny or cute when a dog takes off with its bulging eyes locked onto the front door as Chariots of Fire plays in the background, it's a sign your dog is missing leadership.

Your dog looks to you for leadership and direction, and if you don't provide it, they'll step in and fill the void.

A dog running outside has its blinkers on and doesn't realize it could easily cross paths with vehicles like cars, scooters, bikes, etc. So it's in everyone's best interests your dog learns when they can go outside and when they can't.


Why Do They Do It?

Dogs are pack animals, and a member of the pack doesn't simply run away. So why do they do it?

Well, I hate to break it to you, but it's your fault.

Knowingly or unknowingly, It's ALWAYS YOUR FAULT 🙂

Remember, dogs live by instinct, live in the moment, and don't rationalize events. They act or react based on the input or environmental stimulus. A dog that runs out the front door at its first opportunity is a dog with no discipline or limitations.

More on that in a minute.

Your dog runs outside because they associate an open door with going out = fun, running, freedom...pleasure.

Combine that with the lack of leadership telling them it's not okay to do so, and in their minds, they aren't doing anything wrong. The open door should mean, "this isn't permission to go outside; it just means the door is open."

So it would be best if you enforced that - it takes practice, but each time your dog starts heading towards the door, you give them a verbal correction combined with a calm but firm physical energy (presence).

This could be any word that's short and sharp like "shh!", "hey," a combination, or simply clicking your fingers (I do both).

This tells them you disagree with their behavior. Repetition is key. Each time you notice your dog's body language change from being calm to excited once they notice the door is open, you need to let them know immediately that type of excitement isn't acceptable.

Here's how:

Sometimes what sets them off is the doorbell, and you would do the same thing here as well.

Have someone ring the bell and watch them.

As soon as you detect a change in their demeanor, you correct them right there and then. No use waiting until they've escalated into a red zone and you try to reason with them "aw cmon, Molly, hush, the man is trying to speak!".

Not so effective. 🙂


What Causes Your Dog To Run Outside?

The first thing that's usually common with dogs that spontaneously run outside is they don't get enough exercise. They have so much pent-up energy; they can't wait to release and run like the wind.

Have you noticed dogs that are well exercised and walked properly behave much better?

I mean, if you drain both their physical and mental energy, they don't have the drive to act up. It helps keep them balanced and burns off excess energy they would use to act up otherwise.

Depending on the breed, you must exercise your dog daily. If you don't, then don't complain when they have excess energy they need to drain, and they randomly start sprinting inside the house, tearing up your carpet or hardwood flooring in the process.

But exercise, while very important, should be separate from the walk. If you wish to take your dog to the dog park where they can run riot and drain their energy with other dogs, that's great!

However, when you walk your dog, you're draining more mental energy than physical, and they need both. I understand this may not always be possible for all people, but I'm just telling you what a large proportion of trainers will tell you.

dog in car
Outstanding obedience and manners

Master the walk.

It would help if you walked your dog/s daily and, depending on the breed, up to 45 minutes per walk for larger dogs. Have them walk beside or slightly behind you, not walking you by dragging you around the neighborhood.

I see it all the time, and I've worked with high energy dogs (like this gorgeous girl here) many times, and here's what I did: morning walk for 40-50 minutes, exercise with a ball in the middle of the day, or dog park visit then another 45-minute walk in the evening.

Best behaved German Shepherd you'll ever see.

Here's a good tip to practice that will particularly help stop your dog from running out the front door:

It's okay to make your dog wait.

You're not cruel, mean, or abusive by making your dog do what it would do if it were in a pack of other dogs. So before you walk them, have them calm and make them wait.

If they're too excited, don't put the collar on or leave the house until they begin to learn to associate being calm = going outside, rather than the opposite.

When you're ready to leave, relax and step out first. Just watch them. Remember, an open door means an open door, nothing more. It's not an invitation to bolt.

So once they can make that association, life will be much easier for both of you! 

This lets them understand you are leading the way, don't let them bolt out dragging you along—the same thing when you return. Have them sit or wait until you open the door and step inside, and you invite them in. 

Excitement has its place but not when you want your dog to behave in certain situations.

My sister has an adorable Italian Greyhound and complained to me he would constantly pull on the leash like a sled dog and turned psychotic when he saw other dogs. So when I observed her preparing to take him for a walk, it was pretty clear why he was like that.

She would excite him because she loves it when his little head and ears pop up when he hears the word "walk." So here's her idea of preparing her dog for a walk:

"WHOOOO WANTS TO GO FOR A......WALKK!!!"

And the dog goes bananas.

chihuahua
These Dogs Get Away With Everything

So she activated the launch sequence in the dog and expected it to walk alongside her obediently and calmly.

Repetition is essential, as is enforcement.

There is no use if only you send the message that running out the front door is not okay while the rest of the family laughs and posts videos of the dog doing it on Facebook.

You have to be on the same team for this to be permanent; otherwise, the dog will know who it can act up with and who it can't.

When your dog listens and doesn't run out, you can reward them with affection or a treat to let them know they did well.

Finally, the best part about this is dogs aim to please, so once they learn what's okay and what isn't, they automatically adopt the behavior, much like house training.

So stay patient, be consistent, and you won't have to worry again about your dog running outside when that front door opens!

If you want more details on how to train your dog well in all other areas, check out Adrienne Farricelli's training.

I hope this has been helpful!

golden retrievers sitting
"They know it's us, Jenna. Deny everything! God damnit Jenna; you're going to give us away!"

Dogs are everywhere!

In fact, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), 36.5% of American households have a dog.

And I've seen them all. 

From the tiniest toy dogs that fit in the palm of your hand to 200lb St. Bernards whose slobber is enough to drench the cat.  

One of the most common questions I get:

"So, what's the best type of flooring for dogs?"

While certain kinds of flooring are better suited to most dogs, the more accurate answer is...

It all depends on your lifestyle!

When buying flooring for your home and dog, it's essential to understand what you're getting. That way, everybody wins - your home, dog, and yourself.

I've ranked each flooring type based on my overall experiences as a flooring specialist for over 19 years.

So here's what I'd like you to do....

After I walk you through each type of flooring, apply this information to your dog. That way, you will know which floor is right for you.


The 3 Crucial Factors

 

Okay, every type of flooring is going to have its pros and cons no matter what anyone tells you.

Yes, some are more suited to dogs, but overall, a one size fits all floor for dogs doesn't exist. It will depend on: 

smiling border collie
"Then I Peed On Her Floors! N..I Laughed N Laughed!"

1. The Type Of Dog You Have

This is pretty straightforward.

Larger dogs tend to be tougher on floors than smaller ones because, well - everything they do is bigger.

They are heavier, pee more (although I have seen small dogs that pee like freak fire hydrants), shed more, their nails are bigger, drool more, and get sick, then they could literally puke the size of a small dog out.

Understanding this alone can save you a lot of future frustrations.

If you have a 10lb Pomeranian and you're concerned it's going to destroy your hardwood floors, it won't.

Now, if you have a 100lb goofy Weimaraner with talons that runs around your home like Bambi on ice, then that's another story.

 

2. Your Dog's Behavior 

Although I do flooring for a living, I have a real passion for dogs.

So I get somewhat disappointed when I see owners without a clue how to handle them.

Look, you know your dog best - does it behave or not?

Will it listen when verbally corrected? Or does it stare at you like you owe it money then goes back to tearing apart your carpet?

A well-balanced dog will respect you and your home and, as a result, your floors.

One that eats, pees, sleeps, and walks whenever and wherever it wants is a dog that's probably going to give you a lot more problems than just your floors.

If you want some help correcting any of your dog's "bad" behaviors, check out Adrienne Farricelli's training.

 

3. Maintenance

This is just basic common sense.

Don't live like a star from the series Hoarders.

Regularly maintain your floors based on what type it is and, if possible, follow the manufacturer's specifications. Surface dirt/dust is the leading cause of dulling your floor's appearance.

Other measures you can take to protect your floors:

Only use approved floor cleaners for regular maintenance.

 


The Flooring Ratings

 

[table id=6 /]

 

1. Laminate Flooring

This type of floor is specifically built to take a beating.

There's a very good reason why laminate manufacturers put dogs and kids in a lot of their advertising. That's precisely who it's made for.

We're talking soccer cleats, Tonka trucks, dogs, toys, and anything else an active lifestyle can throw at it.

It's true laminate flooring is significantly louder than hardwood since it is a floating floor. However, there are now superior laminate products and upgraded acoustic-type pads, so sound absorption is better than ever.

The main advantage of laminate flooring is you do not have to worry about what your dog will do to it.

It's:

Just make sure you get a reputable brand like Mannington, Shaw, or Mohawk.

The cheap/budget brands, quite frankly, aren't worth the money paid for them.

The main disadvantage is it is noticeably louder than glue-down products. Also, your dog may find it slippery if they love to run around your home. If this is a concern for you, avoid it or look into a textured option.

Otherwise, enjoy the show! 🙂

Textured / hand-scraped products mimic natural wood and offer you and your dog better traction than the traditional smooth finish.

So today's laminate does not only look like natural wood; they act like it too.

Recommended for: Any dog alive.

 

2. Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

I want you to completely forget about everything you have known about vinyl floors in the past. They are the fastest-growing market segment in the flooring industry today!

Why?

Because they have come a long way in terms of looks, style, technology, and overall performance.

They are now the go-to choice for many contractors and homeowners alike regarding furnishing homes, apartments, townhomes, retail stores, and many other applications. 

They come in many different styles, but the most popular right now are luxury vinyl planks (LVP) and luxury vinyl tiles (LVT).

Vinyl flooring for dogs brings a lot of advantages. They are:

Water, pee, vomit, drool, or feces won't do a darn thing to them.

I have installed plenty of this stuff all over Dallas-Fort Worth in both commercial and residential settings, and it's worked out just fabulous for the client.

It's not all sunshine and rainbows, however.

While putting vinyl plank flooring in your home may be great for you and your dog, the value of your home will not increase in any way. Just do your homework first, but if this is not an issue, then this is an excellent floor for any dog.

Luxury vinyl flooring comes in two categories:

  1. SPC (stone polymer composite)
  2. WPC (wood polymer composite)

I highly recommend going for a WPC over an SPC because it has more "give" and not as hard on the joints. Stone composites are specifically made for commercial applications, so they're considerably harder underfoot. 

They come in both glue down and click products, the click going in most residential homes.

Recommended for: Light dogs, dogs whose nails are regularly trimmed, and well-behaved pups who would rather dig outside than inside.

 

 

3. Hardwood Flooring

Sad baby pug
"I Assamed. So, So Assamed."

One of the biggest issues that I encounter is dogs and hardwood flooring - more specifically, large dogs who run in the house!

Homeowners often ask me if their dog will scratch their wood floors.

If they are old, calm, or casually lumber around the house, then no. It will be doubtful they are going to scratch your wood floors.

However, if they are very high energy and act like they are on crack, then yes, their nails will scratch your wood floors.

Most dogs do very well with hardwood floors so long as their nails are maintained, and they are reasonably well behaved.

Being a natural product, all hardwood will eventually scratch; it's just a matter of when.

Think of it this way - if your bundle of joy is running on your wood floor, at one point in time when it's built up enough momentum, all of its weight is resting on its front nails. That's a lot of weight digging into the floor.

There's plenty of upside, though, to wood floors.

The harder species like hickory, maple, pecan, and Brazilian family (teak, walnut, and cherry) are more resilient than most other woods.

Quick Tip: Hand-scraped/distressed wood floors tend to hide imperfections a lot better than smooth finish or glossy ones.

Since the wear layer of wood flooring, whether engineered or solid, contains a protective wear layer by way of aluminum oxide or polyurethane, they don't absorb pet accidents like carpet does, so they're super easy to clean up.

Wood floors are also hypoallergenic and do not absorb dust and dog hair like carpet does, so they're much easier to keep looking newer for longer. Plus, they add good value to your home.

Recommended for: Small-medium dogs, dogs whose claws are regularly trimmed, and well-behaved pups who would rather dig outside than inside.

 

4 & 5. Tile & Stone Flooring

Let me make a very clear distinction between tile and natural stone. Both of them are vastly different materials and behave very differently when it comes to dogs.

Glazed porcelain tile is the most indestructible flooring you can buy.

It wouldn't matter if you had a herd of stallions. The worst thing your dog could do to this kind of floor is stain the grout lines.

You can even minimize that by making the grout lines as small as possible. Just talk to your installer about the narrowest width for your tile. Make sure to seal them afterward or use pre-sealed grout.

Nothing goes wrong with this type of floor due to its exceptionally dense and hard properties. It's fired at a very high temperature, so the result is a product that's not only hard but impervious to moisture. Its water absorption rate is so low; some are even frostproof.

It's virtually impossible to scratch, stain, or damage.

I used to demonstrate this by running a screwdriver across the tile, and clients would see the sparks flying, yet not a scratch would appear on its surface.

Your dog will not hurt a glazed porcelain tile.

They install this type of material in shopping malls and airports, so that should give you an idea of just how resilient it is. It's also super easy to clean, providing the surface is somewhat smooth.

As visually stunning as it can be, natural stone, on the other hand, is a different story.

It's relatively soft, porous, and susceptible to damage.

It absorbs everything, so unless your floor is very well sealed, I wouldn't recommend this kind of floor for dogs with weak bladders and stomachs. They can easily scratch or stain it, and once their vomit or pee has penetrated the stone, you will need to replace that tile because it's not coming out.

We both know high-quality natural stone is not cheap! 

Both materials are relatively hard on both human and dog joints. Hence, if your dog has arthritis and you get this kind of floor, be sure to furnish plenty of area rugs and give them their own allocated beds or adequately cushioned area to lay down on. 

Glazed Porcelain Recommended for: Any healthy dog with no joint issues.

Natural Stone Recommended for: NOT RECOMMENDED.

 

6. Carpet

Ok, on the face of it, this option appears to be the very worst for dog owners, especially if their dog pees and/or vomits a lot since it absorbs pretty quickly.  

A low-grade carpet is the worst possible flooring for dogs, no doubt about it. They easily stain it and chew it like a toy.

However, better quality carpets like Mohawk's stain-proof SmartStrand have no exclusion warranties on them, meaning they cover items typically not covered by lower grades.

Things such as...pet vomit, pet urine, blood, and other things you hope don't visit your carpet anytime soon. It is by far the most comprehensive pet protection warranty in the industry.

Also, never underestimate the value of a high-quality carpet shampooer.

Take a look at the very best ones and read the reviews of dog owners who managed to get every last trace of their pet accidents out with their cleaner. The accompanying pictures in those reviews are very impressive.

I can personally attest to how great these cleaners are in returning carpets to pristine condition. It just takes regular maintenance, and you'll be okay.

A good carpet cleaner will also extract all remaining remnants of impurities from the carpet backing, so it doesn't leak into the carpet pad. Once that happens, you pretty much have to replace your carpet.

When the pad gets soaked with pet urine and other contaminants, the smell can be so bad; it punches you right in the face!

If you're going down this route, get a stain-proof carpet like the one mentioned above and insist on a pet pad that contains a moisture barrier that prevents any accidents from getting into the pad.

The main advantages of carpet

The downside of carpet is it absorbs more dirt, debris, and stains than other types of flooring and is harder on those with allergies since it holds more dust.

Recommended for: Dogs that are house trained, have minimal health issues, and shed little.

 

squinting lab
"I'm Not Guilty. Sun In My Eyes."

7. Cork Flooring

Cork flooring for some dogs is an excellent choice - it's softer than any other floor except carpet and has more give than other surfaces. Hence, it's easy on the joints, super easy to clean, hypoallergenic, and very eco-friendly.

Because it's a softer material, it's pleasant to walk on, having a very light underfoot vibe to it. This makes it perfect for elderly folks and dogs with joint problems.

It's also suitable for any small dog since they are not heavy enough to cause any significant damage.

Its natural acoustic properties also allow it to absorb sound a lot better than other flooring types. So if peace and quiet are what you're after, you won't get a better floor.

Its properties also give it a built-in temperature control quality about it - it absorbs heat readily in the winter so it's noticeably warmer than tile or laminate but surprisingly cooler in summer.

This is due to it wanting to remain at room temperature.

The major drawback, of course, is cork is very soft and easily damaged. Not only by larger, more active dogs but from everyday wear and tear like moving furniture, equipment like wheelchairs and walking aides, high heels, and even a stone caught in the shoe can dent it. 

Manufacturers have caught onto this major concern. So what you see now is a good portion of cork made today are heavily distressed and patterned to disguise imperfections in the floor once it's installed.

Overall, not the ideal floor for larger dogs, but it has its particular purpose for smaller ones.

Recommended for: Smaller dogs with relatively sedentary owners who entertain little.


Final Thoughts

There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to flooring and your dog.

I've ranked them in order of what I felt was overall performance vs. value for money.

Of course, there are flooring types more suited to dogs than others, so it's going to get down to your circumstances and the kind of dog you have.

If I had to choose, I'd rank laminate flooring slightly ahead of the vinyl plank as the best flooring for dogs.  Vinyl's waterproof properties, however, may put it ahead in many folk's eyes.

Stay clear of natural stone like marble and slate as these will give you a lot of problems.

Your dogs will pee, puke and shit all over them, and it'll be impossible to remove any stains. The only way to get rid of such accidents is to replace the tile, and you don't want to be constantly doing that.

Although laminate is loud and can be slippery, this can be offset by purchasing a higher quality acoustic pad and laminate product.

It also handles any dog, and household demands well, all while looking fabulous and lasting longer. Take this overall assessment based on trends and observations rather than specific recommendations. 

In the end, you know your home and dog best.

Use good practice and commonsense like cleaning your floors with approved cleaners and trimming your dog's nails. Do that, and your floor will perform the way it was designed. 

I hope this guide has helped you set your course for your new flooring purchase.

If you are in the Dallas / Fort Worth area and would like an estimate on your project, please connect with me here.

10 Best Vacuum Cleaners for Hardwood Floors in 2022 

hardwood floor vacuum display

Your beautiful hardwood floors enhance your home so much, and you shouldn't worry about stains, taking so much time to clean them and backaches.

So why do hardwood floors challenge you when it comes to cleaning?

The harsh reality is that most vacuums clean everything well other than hardwood floors.

The beater bars that have been around since carpet went mainstream can even be downright destructive on your hardwood floors. As far as broom and a dustpan go, who needs the backache of chasing the dust?

Despite the facts, most people fight a losing battle against dust and grime on their hardwood floors because of a lack of information on the vacuums with the features required to save your back and peace of mind.

This year I thought to make some comparisons on affordable vacuums reputed to work well on hardwood floors.

Like all things in life, no two hardwood floors or homes are the same, but the features that work on my hardwood floors should also work on yours.

I tried to evaluate these with realistic real-life situations that most people would face in cleaning their hardwood floors. Each of these machines comes with different features, costs, and you should evaluate each before deciding.

The analysis my family and I made of these models covered what we believe to be the most critical items in selecting a hardwood floor vacuum cleaner. I also considered price, ease of use, efficiency in cleaning, comparing features, and the cost.

Hopefully, this review of these top hardwood floor vacuum cleaners will help you avoid throwing away money on those that fail to do what you need it to.

 

Hardwood Vacuum Buying Guidelines

There is no perfect vacuum that will satisfy everyone’s needs. Some people have dogs or cats and must deal with the associated hair that goes with having them. Other people have disabilities like arthritis, a bad back, inability to bend, and the weight and ease of use must take center point in their selection.

Keeping that in mind, I feel that these three considerations are pretty universal concerns when choosing the right vacuum for your hardwood floors.

I urge you to get a pen and paper and answer these questions before you begin your search in earnest. Then make notes including model numbers of the vacuums so you can narrow the search based on the criteria most important to you.

Everyone has an opinion, and while the idea of online reviews is excellent, they often lack the practicality one needs on a day-to-day basis. 

While the five-star ratings are a great reassurance when they hit triple or quadruple digits, how many of those reviewers have the same demands and needs that you do?

 

1. Your Demands

What do you demand from a hardwood floor vacuum?

Do you have pets and or children?

What about allergies disabilities that limit mobility or lifting?

Make a quick note of each major consideration so you can quickly rule out options that do not offer what you demand from your vacuum.

All those reviewed have their pros and cons, of course, so see what works for you.

That is another reason I took the time to create this buyer's guide. Quality, affordability, ease of use, and efficiency at the task should all be considered and help you buy the right hardwood vacuum for your floors. 

 

vacuum on wheels for wood floors

2. Does it get the job done?

If the model fails to get the dirt, dust, and debris off the floor, there is no reason to look at any other features it might offer. Watch for the model on the vacuums reviewed.

Often they will have various models, and some may perform better or worse than the one reviewed.

Instead of looking at the amps or horsepower of a model and going all Tim the Tool Man, evaluate more like Al and look at how well the vacuum gets the job done.

Use your list of must-haves when selecting between two vacuums.

As lovely as it is to have a model that comes in the right color to accentuate your apron, it should be the last item you consider. This is an extreme example, but you get the idea. Give the most weight to the features you need.

When evaluating the overall price, keep in mind the cost of bags and/or filters and the purchase price. While no bag is wonderful in theory, some of these vacuums require a new filter every 3 to 6 months that costs more than a years’ worth of bags for other models.

Look at the cost of ownership = purchase price plus the cost of maintaining it and not just the purchase price alone.

Does it have a warranty? While many people never cash in a warranty today, with service contracts available for everything from toasters to the kitchen sink, they can offer a glimpse into the longevity of the hardwood vacuum cleaner.

 

3. Size, weight, a joy to use

While most of us will never jump for joy when the time arrives to clean our hardwood floors, it should not cause a sense of dread either.

Some vacuums are light, easy to use, and store, while others weigh as much as a Buick and fight like a cat on bath day to change or even find standard attachments.

The difficulty is that few people leave reviews on these very things.

Most reviews come within a week or two of purchase. This is before the difficulty of use and storage has made an impression.

I have made a point to mention these very things in my evaluation.

 

"Some Assembly Required"

This can be misleading.

I will share my assembly experience for you to consider in your evaluations.

Many vacuum cleaners and other household appliances have damage before they are ever plugged in simply from “some assembly required

.” The main warning here is that user abuse voids the warranty at worst and is not covered by warranty at best.

The less assembly, the better.

After all, we all have better things to do than partially assemble vacuums. For the minor assembly, do take a moment to view the quick start instructions most vacuum models offer before diving in.

What makes sense to us may not to the manufacturer based on their production or parts’ costs, and a couple of minutes of reading now can save hours of frustration later.

Now that you have your key points to look for let’s dive into some hardwood vacuum cleaners! 

 

Test Results & Rankings

 

Moosoo Vacuum Cleaner1. MOOSOO Vacuum Cleaner Corded 17KPa Suction Stick Vacuum for Hard Floor With 2-Pack HEPA Filters, D600

Check It Out Here On Amazon

While weighing in at 2.8 pounds, this hardwood floor vac has a high-powered built-in brush motor with a faster speed. This vac even has a much longer and more full-service life. With a bonus handheld vac, you can get into smaller spaces that the bigger vacuum cannot reach.

This vacuum comes with:

  1. The main motor
  2. A brush head that easily rotates
  3. Ån extra filter,
  4. An adjustable tube that extends to reach under tables and chairs
  5. The cleaning brush and crevice tool,
  6. The wall mount tool to store your vacuum when not in use
  7. The instruction manual to help you assemble your new vac.

Both filters are washable so that you can clean them with ease.

This vacuum is so lightweight; it is easy for me to carry up and down the stairs. It is perfect for vacuuming up pet hair, litter, and easily missed small pieces of food.

There is nothing this vacuum won’t pick up! I would recommend this for homes with hardwood floors.

 

 

Compact C1 Vacuum2. Compact C1 Pure Suction Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Check It Out Here On Amazon

The Compact C1 is small enough to store in small spaces yet is powerful enough to do the same cleaning as an upright or stick vacuum. While it does use a bag, it is still easy to use. The floor head works for both carpets and hardwood floors well. It is an excellent buy for anyone who finds bagless vacuums lacking suction.

I have always used upright vacuums that did not require a bag but found that they did not trap all the dirt in the canister. I can get all the dirt and dust off my hardwood floors better than the uprights I have used with this bad boy.

The most significant advantage of this vacuum is not how powerful it is but how quiet it is despite its considerable sucking power.

 

 

3. MOOSOO Cordless Vacuum 10Kpa Powerful Suction 4 iI 1 Stick Handheld Vacuum Cleaner For Home Hard Floor Carpet Car Pet - XL-618A

Check It Out Here On Amazon

The MOOSOO Cordless Vacuum works best on hardwood floors. Pet owners will love this vacuum because it picks up pet hair quickly. It is cordless, so very convenient. The battery lasts for up to forty-five minutes and only needs charging for five hours.

The handle is ergonomic to allow users to vacuum drapes, blinds, and stairs.

This vacuum comes with a twenty-four-month warranty. Plus, the filter is easy to clean and is recyclable. The powerhead is clear, and the vacuum will turn off if it becomes clogged to prevent wear on the belt.

This vacuum was a breeze to use. Without the pesky cord to get in the way, especially when cleaning the stairs, I was able to clean them faster. I like how it will warn you if you have a clog in it and that it will shut itself off if the clog is not taken care of right away.

It helps to prevent buying a new belt. That is my favorite feature of this vacuum.

 

 

Bissel Hard Floor expert4. Bissell Hard Floor Expert Corded Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Check It Out Here On Amazon

The Bissell Hard Floor Expert is an expert at getting the whole house clean, not just the hardwood floors. Its V-shaped design gets every crumb and other small debris from corners and around furniture legs.

You no longer have to worry about scratching your wood floors because of the rubber on the wheels. If it gets clogged, it is easy to clean out. A must-have vacuum if you have pets who shed.

I love the V-shaped design. I can vacuum around my pet’s food bowl and the chairs and kitchen table legs. The rubber pieces make it easier to get all the large and small debris that seem to float around my house.

I can even go around the corners of the baseboard with this beauty.

However, I have to use the attachment to get under the beds. This is an excellent bang for your buck.

 

 

 

5. Shark Rocket DeluxePro Ultra-Light Upright Corded Stick Vacuum, Bordeaux

Shark Rocket Deluxe Pro Pic

Check It Out Here On Amazon

This two-in-one Shark Rocket DeluxePro Ultra-Light Upright vacuum is excellent for people with pets. With the pet multi-tool, you can vacuum pet hair from any surface, not just hardwood floors.

This vac does not lose suction and is excellent for quickly picking up dust, dirt, and pet hair within minutes. The vacuum also comes with a wand, a duster crevice tool, and the aforementioned pet multi-tool.

This vacuum has worked wonders in picking up stray cat litter, hair, and dirt accumulating on my client's hardwood floors.

It is lightweight and stores easily in the closet or on a wall mount. Not only is it good to use on hardwood flooring, but also stairs and carpet. Even the kids use this vacuum because of how light it is.

This is one vacuum I'd use for years to come.

 

 

6. Bissell Featherweight Stick Lightweight Bagless Vacuum

Bissel Featherweight

Check It Out Here On Amazon

This vacuum is super lightweight and can go from stick to handheld in a snap.

You can remove the floor nozzle easily to become a handheld vac and use it on both the stairs and the regular floor. It is excellent if you have hardwood floors and works just as well on carpet, stairs, furniture, and much more.

The crevice tool is included and works on the handheld to make vacuuming between the couch cushions easier.

The only thing to complain about this vacuum is the short cord. I had to plug it into several outlets as I went along cleaning. Other than that, this vacuum has worked wonders on my hardwood floors.

I cleaned all the stray dust bunnies between the couch cushions and the cobwebs in the corners.

It was easy to assemble, and I could easily detach and reattach the floor nozzle to suit my cleaning needs.

 

 

7. Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Stick Vacuum CleanerDyson V8

Check It Out Here On Amazon

Dyson has done it again.

This Dyson V8 Absolute is one of their many innovative vacuums. Its V8 motor helps this well-engineered vacuum suck up dirt that has become ground-in on your hardwood floors and in your carpets. 

The HEPA filter is washable, so you can continue cleaning for a long time. It comes with a soft roller cleaner head to help pick up big debris like cereal. It does have to charge for four hours before you can begin to use it. It works for about forty minutes on one full charge.

There is no cord, and it is lightweight while still being powerful to take on the hardest to clean floors It also has two modes for cleaning: Low and MAX.

I have used Dyson before and found that they are one of the easiest vacuum brands to use. The V8 is worth every penny. The extra head works great for picking up big pieces of debris.

I used the low mode to save battery life, and it works just as well as the MAX mode would be. I can easily clean the blinds and corners with how light it is.

 

 

Dirt Devil Cleaner Upright8. Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik Vacuum Cleaner, 3-in-1 Hand and Stick Vac

Check It Out Here On Amazon

The Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik is an easy three-in-one vacuum to use.

It goes from a stick vac to a hand vac to an extended hand vac. It is lightweight and versatile to take care of hard-to-reach areas such as under furniture and between cabinets. It is perfect for dorm rooms and apartments without taking up floor space. The filter is easy to rinse and reuse.

This vacuum is fragile and doesn't have a big containment unit.

Is, however, very light, and taking it upstairs was a breeze.

When I have a small vacuuming job to do around the house, this vacuum does the trick. It is quiet and still picks the dirt up. I do not have to worry about too many clogs since I only use them for small dust-busting jobs.

I currently have this in a downstairs closet, but this unit can run into suction issues.

I wouldn't recommend this for heavy-duty cleaning since the suction is moderate, but it does the trick for quick dust jobs.

 

 

Shark Navigator Upright9. Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E

Check It Out Here On Amazon

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away is a HEPA filter that captures all the dust and pesky allergy-causing allergens.

The dust cup lifts away to make cleaning the stairs easy without having to lug the whole vacuum with you. It gently cleanses your wood floors and picks up everything.

I like how the dust cap lifts off, so I do not have to carry the whole vacuum up the stairs and down again. It sucks up all the pet hair and dandruff that accumulates and eliminates coughing and sneezing in the summer and winter.

However, it is best to use it in big spaces, not tiny confining spaces in the summer, because the air blows out is a bit on the warm side.

 

 

10. Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Wet Vacuum Hoover ONEPWR side view

Check It Out Here On Amazon

The Hoover ONEPWR is the perfect cordless vacuum to use.

This futuristic unit not only vacuums but also washes the floor simultaneously - so don't use it on your hardwood floor.

For tile, it's perfect, but you don't want to wet clean your hardwood floor under any circumstances since many hardwood floor manufacturers will void their product warranties as a result.

It comes with a tray to store and rinse the vacuum when not used.

Make sure to sweep the scattered cat litter before using it around the litter box to avoid ruing the vacuum. There is a measuring cup for the solution, and you can decide when to release the solution as you vacuum.

It has two tanks, one for clean water and the other for the dirty water as you vacuum, keeping both mixing and making a bigger mess.

I no longer have to mop after vacuuming my floors. This Hoover vacuum eliminates the hassle of dragging out the mop, mop bucket, and cleaning solution after sweeping or vacuuming all the tile flooring. I would only recommend this vacuum to folks with tile or vinyl floors.

 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it - the top 10 vacuums for hardwood floors based on personal use, via clients and independent reviews.

As long as you evaluate the features you need and ignore the bells and whistles, that would not be of real benefit to you or your family.

Last thing to keep in mind no matter which model you buy...

While the vacuum will get dirty every time you use it,  you also get dirty daily, but you hopefully wash!

Your vacuum will perform better no matter its make or model if you wipe the dust off it before putting it away, shake out, and/or wash the filter weekly allowing it to air dry completely before reassembling it.

Most essential but often forgotten, walk to the socket and avoid unplugging the vacuum from across the house. Wind the cord, or eventually, it will be damaged. The thin copper fiber wires inside the cable can become brittle if over-flexed and become damaged.

No matter how great the parts and quality is, it won't last if neglected. Simple maintenance and care of the items will pay off in the long term.

I hope this review has helped you - feel free to check out the 10 Best Carpet Shampooers as well. Please reach out if you're in the DFW area for your flooring and bathroom remodeling needs.

The most common question received when remodeling showers is: “what is the best tile for a shower wall or floor?” Given there are so many options, it’s easy to be confused and overwhelmed.

Having remodeled showers for over 19 years now, I’m going to make it super simple for you so you can focus on getting on with your project!

Let’s start with the best tile for your shower walls, then move to the floor so everything ties in. 

Best Tile For Shower Walls

The first thing to consider is the material.

If you want a thorough review of all materials available, you can check that out here.

completed tiled shower
Glazed Porcelain Tile Is Excellent For Shower Walls

For simplicity, however, I’ll rank your best three options in order based on my experience with shower remodels:

#1 Glazed Porcelain Tile

The very best material you can put on a shower wall is a larger-sized glazed porcelain tile. Why? Well, glazed porcelain won’t stain because it’s sealed. It’s very durable, super easy to clean, and comes in any size and color.

The current technology is so good; you can get these tiles in just about any look. In addition, you don’t have to worry about the associated costs and maintenance that come with materials like natural stone.

Now I say larger size because the larger the tile, the fewer grout lines, so the easier the maintenance. The most popular sizes now are 12 x 24, and if you want to go even larger, 24 x 24 or 18 x 36.

Another advantage many folks don’t realize with porcelain tile is you can fashion bullnose out of it. If the tile you select doesn’t come with a bullnose, a skilled installer can make it from the tile. 

So going with a larger porcelain tile for your shower walls covers all your bases. You get a great look, versatility, lower cost, and very little maintenance. 

For those reasons, this is my number one choice for the best shower wall tile.

#2 Glazed Ceramic Tile

The only real difference between ceramic and porcelain tile they fire porcelain from more refined clays at a much higher temperature. This makes it harder as it sets. You will find porcelain tile prevalent in most tile manufacturer’s product lines. If you cannot get porcelain for some reason, this will be your next best choice.

Since many ceramics are red-bodied, you can’t make a bullnose out of the tile. So if you need one, be sure to get Schluter edging. This is a good, safe choice, particularly for redoing rental properties where resilient but economical options are required.

Natural stone shower walls
Natural Stone Showers Are Known For Their Beauty

#3 – Natural Stone

I realize many salespeople try to sell natural stones like marble, travertine, etc. because they cost more to buy and install. While they are stunning, they are softer, easier to crack, porous, easier to stain and need proper maintenance to preserve their pristine look.

Depending on where you live, foundation issues/shifting and/or hard water may be a problem with natural stone. They can sometimes collect mineral deposits and, if not properly sealed, can permanently stain/damage the tile.

So unless you have a very high-quality penetrating stone sealer like Aqua Mix, you’re better off with a stronger porcelain tile.

Even if well sealed, stone can ugly out over time from a very fine coating of water deposits. If this happens, you need a stone color enhancer to restore the vividness of the tile.

Quick Tip: If you go with natural stone, be sure to clean it with the recommended stone cleaners. Please DO NOT use anything with ammonia in it like Windex, as it will strip the sealer over time.

Overview

If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck tile for your shower walls, without a doubt, glazed porcelain tile is your best option. They are less expensive to buy, install and maintain than natural stone, and above all – they look fantastic.

Try to avoid high gloss or shiny tiles as they tend to show water spots easier than a matte finish. You can always use other materials as accents if you’re making a particular pattern like glass, stone, or metal. 

If you’re doing this, be sure they are comparable in thickness, so you get an even finish.


Best Tile For Shower Floors

Wall & Shower Floor Tile At Walker Zanger
Tile With Matching Mosaic For Shower Floor

Even more critical than the type of tile you put on a shower floor is the size of it.

The shower floor (aka shower pan) needs different tile than anywhere else, mainly due to safety. Although larger tile works perfectly for the shower walls, you want to go with a smaller format for the shower floor.

A mesh-mounted mosaic where each square ranges from 1 x 1 to 3 x 3  should be your go-to option. They come in square, rectangle, hexagon, and many other shapes, and they’re perfect for shower floors.

The reason you want grout lines on the shower floor is for traction. The larger the tile, the less footing you have particularly when it’s wet. Go for a mesh-mounted tile that comes in smaller squares. This becomes even more important for older folks or those needing assistance.

The main advantage of mesh-mounted tile (irrespective of material) is it flexes perfectly with the slant of the shower floor, making it super easy to install.

Insist on a mosaic tile in any configuration you like for the shower floor, as this is by far your best option.

The only other option you could do is have the installer cut smaller pieces from the main floor or wall tile, and that is a cumbersome, labor-intensive process that doesn’t look anywhere as good.

River Rocks Shower Mosaic
Flat Over Round

As far as material goes:

#1 Porcelain: Once again, a bulletproof option that’s well priced and, above all, has all the qualities you want in a tile that gets daily usage. It doesn’t need sealing, and the vast majority of tile manufacturers make coordinating mosaic tile with their field tile for shower floors.

#2 River Rocks: These have become popular over recent years. Having worked with them a lot, you will be happier with the flat rocks over the rounded ones. The flatter ones are more comfortable on the feet, easier to clean, and don’t need as much grout as the rounded ones. They come in an array of different color blends

#3 Natural Stone: Not the place you want to put a natural stone. It’s more likely to chip and stain faster on the shower floor than the wall. Since a lot of this material comes in a polished finish, you want to be careful putting this down, especially if there are wheelchairs or assistance equipment involved.

I have seen this work really well only when the mosaic is very small (1 x 1 squares on a 12 x 12 sized mesh) and it’s properly sealed. Aside from that, stick with options 1 or 2.

Best Places To Buy Shower Wall & Floor Tile

The options are many in terms of the best places to find shower walls and floor tile for your project.

If you want the standard, plain Jane selection, you can always go to your local Home Depot or Lowe’s. However, if you’re going to see materials not carried in these stores, these two stores are worth exploring. Their selection is vast; they have both floor, wall, and shower floor tile/mosaics, and they ship quickly all over the US, so your project won’t be delayed.

Don’t forget to order whatever you need with your wall and floor purchase like trim pieces, bullnose, accents, etc.

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Final Thoughts

Don’t overthink your tile selections for your shower.

Lock in a material that’s suitable for you. If you can stick with a larger format on the walls and smaller on the shower floor, you’re set. From here, you can make other important bathroom remodel decisions.

Ensure your contractor correctly waterproofs your shower before tiling to give you maximum protection. 

To protect your shower, even more, be sure to get a pre-sealed grout like Mapei FlexColor CQ or Fusion Pro. This will help keep your shower looking newer for longer. It’s also a lot easier than buying grout sealer separately and sealing it.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to have a couple of extra boxes of material left over in case of future repairs. So order between 10-15% extra to allow for cuts and waste as well as for storage. That way, you get the exact shade/lot number.

I hope this guide has been helpful.

Please reach out if you’re in the DFW area should you need any help remodeling your shower.

Your Buying Guide To Selecting The Best Tile For Your Kitchen Backsplash 

The backsplash is an important but easily overlooked part of a kitchen remodel, and folks generally don't know the best material for a kitchen backsplash. Or where to start. After all, it's supposed to compliment the countertop and coordinate with the floors, cabinets and is a focal point of the room.

Having done thousands of these over the years, I've put together this buying guide to point you in the right direction.

What Material Do I Use?

Ok, first up...

When choosing your backsplash material for your kitchen, the very first thing you need to keep in mind is your lifestyle. This alone will dictate the most suitable material for your backsplash. Then from there, you can work out what looks you like.

That way, you get something that looks great and is functional. So, for example, if you don't entertain/cook often, you can pretty much go with any material you like. Still, if you cook daily, you will want to steer clear of certain materials like natural stone that require more maintenance over the years.

Let's look at the pros and cons of the major materials used for backsplashes.

Now let's go through each major one so you can see if it works for you:  


1. Porcelain/Ceramic Tile

porcelain tile backsplash
Slate Looking Porcelain

Ceramic (or porcelain) tile for a kitchen backsplash is the most popular and widely used option mainly because it's very resilient, most economical out of other options. They often come in complimentary sizes with larger field tiles for the floor.

I've seen people put huge field tiles on the backsplash - I'd advise against it mainly for lack of creative design. I mean, if you want a minimalist look with little grout lines, then do a larger field tile.

Otherwise, go for the smaller formats like 3 x 6, 3 x 8, 6 x 6, 6 x 13, 4 x 4, or any other similar sizes. This allows you to really get creative with your color and design selection and fully make use of the limited space your backsplash has.

If you want to go with a mesh-mounted mosaic (pictured), then you have an array of excellent choices that mimic just about any look you like. Here is a backsplash mosaic that simulates the natural look of slate - without the maintenance and worrying about the tile chipping, peeling, and cracking over time.

If you opt to go for this option, go with a glazed ceramic or porcelain tile. These are virtually impossible to stain as they barely absorb anything, which means everyday household items found in the kitchen like sauces, cooking oils, wines, etc., wipe right off. They're also very heat and fade-resistant, so nothing in your kitchen will be able to hurt it.

Go with this option if you're looking for a bulletproof tile that will last forever and with very little upkeep.


glass backsplash tile
A Recent One We Did

2. Glass Tile

Glass tiles for a kitchen backsplash have fast become the "in" thing, and with good reason: they come in a gazillion different sizes, colors, and mesh-mounted mosaics, super easy to clean, and can make a backsplash pop.

They first gained popularity in restaurants, home bars, and bathroom backsplash areas, where they bring out the smaller sinks, faucets, and countertops even more.

Folks who go with glass tiles usually want something slightly different from what porcelain or ceramic tile offer. Glass tile comes in so many different finishes like plain and shiny (pictured), "cracked," frosted, and infused.

It's not anywhere near as tough as porcelain, but how tough do you need it to be on your kitchen wall? Unless you're habitually throwing barbells at it, the tile will last and look great for many years. Since glass tile usually comes in a higher gloss finish than other backsplash options, be aware it's more likely to show imperfections like streaks, etc., if it's not kept pristine.

So when you put it up against the wall, assess how any outside light hits it so you can decide if it'll work for you.

Go with this option if you're looking to make a real impact and draw attention to the backsplash area.


3. Natural Stone (marble, slate, travertine, etc.)

marble backsplash mosaic
Grey & White Marble Subway Tile

There's nothing more beautiful than natural stone on a backsplash to complement countertops, but you need to know what to expect with natural products.

These are much softer than your porcelain or ceramic tile and are porous, so they stain pretty easily. That's why natural stone backsplash tile must be well sealed before regular use.

If they are not, they will absorb stains like a sponge, and the only way to remove the stain is to remove the tile. An excellent penetrating stone sealer like Aqua Mix will fill all the micro holes in the stone, making it resistant to everyday kitchen products.

If you clean your backsplash regularly and cook often, you might want to reseal it every year. So the maintenance for this material is relatively high if you entertain a lot, which you need to be aware of before getting natural stone products.

If you're showcasing a home or don't cook much, this is a beautiful choice.

Natural stone is timeless and never goes out of style, so it's always a safe choice if it's suitable for your home. Expect to pay considerably more on natural stone backsplash tiles and mosaics than other materials. Some installers will also charge more to lay them, so check with them beforehand.

Finally, you will need a different grout when putting in natural stone, so you want to go with an unsanded grout instead of a sanded.


Mixed material mosaic
Blue Glass & Granite Mix
4. Hybrid (natural & synthetic blend)

Hybrid mosaic tile is a combination of different materials like glass and natural stone, or porcelain and glass, or even a mixture of all three. Relatively new, these backsplash tiles are designed to get the best of both worlds.

So, for example, if you have one mixed with natural stone and glass, you get the timeless beauty of the stone but with the impact of the glass pieces. These are getting increasingly popular because they are so flexible.

They almost always come on a mesh, so installation is very straightforward. Now a common question I receive with this tile type is, "is it necessary to seal the natural stone portions of the mosaic?"

The short answer is it's probably a good idea to do so only if your kitchen is used heavily daily and your backsplash would get a lot of attention as a result. Otherwise, the presence of the glass helps offset sealing the natural stone portions.

Plus, it would be very tedious doing so across an entire backsplash as you would need to ensure the sealer doesn't stay on the glass for too long. In my experience with this material, folks don't seal it for everyday use, and it holds up very well!

Go with this option if you want a middle ground between the plain ceramic/porcelain look and the more eye-catching glass.


metallic backsplash tile
5. Stainless Steel / Metallic

Stainless steel or metallic backsplash tile includes those in all colors and finishes like stainless steel; oil rubbed bronze, brushed nickel, etc. They can come in coated forms or solid, but this type of tile needs a little explanation because if you use it wrong, it can be a nightmare!

These tiles are best suited as inserts/accent pieces rather than blanketing the entire area. That way, you can still bring in the silvers, chromes, and steel colors without worrying about keeping it streak-free.

However...

This material has a "grain." If you hold the tile one way, it runs in an east-west direction, and if you turn it around, it'll look like the grain is going north-south.

If you do the entire section with this material, be aware of installing it with the same grain direction; otherwise, you will get patches of two colors. If it's installed "correctly" with the grain running horizontally (like your appliances), you will get the classic silver look.

When installed vertically, the tiles take on a blue look from a distance, and if you mix and match them, you will have clear patches of both.

When you clean them, clean with the grain.

You often see this type of backsplash tile in glitzy restaurants, bachelor pads, and display homes. They also work perfectly with kitchens that have stainless steel appliances and fixtures.

From experience, you need to be extra careful when installing these types of tiles as they can scratch and ruin the face of the material. It's best to keep the protective plastic sheet on until after installation.

Go with this material if you're going for a striking Bladerunner look 🙂


Money-Saving Tips & Best Places To Buy Backsplash Kitchen Tile

Having worked in retail flooring for almost 20 years, I can tell you it will be significantly cheaper and quicker to buy your backsplash material online and have a competent installer put it in. 

I usually buy backsplash materials for my clients from either of these three online retailers below. They're particularly good at shipping things quickly and cover all of the US, just like a Home Depot or Lowe's, but with a much better selection, pricing and they have some kitchen backsplash tile that you can't get elsewhere.

Quick Tip: Each store has an overwhelming number of options/products to look at, so use their convenient sorting tool, which allows you to narrow down your options super quickly!

 
logo
wayfair logo
Build.com logo logo
Pricing
Excellent
Good
Very Good
Price Matching
No
No
Yes
Free Shipping
Yes
Yes
Yes
Backsplash Selection
Best
Better
Very Good
Service
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Overall
Excellent
Excellent
Very Good
Availability
Browse Options Here
Browse Options Here
Browse Options Here

If you go through retail, not only will you pay between 20%-50% more for the same materials, but you usually have to wait a lot longer to get it installed because a good portion of these backsplash materials are special order and take between 1-6 weeks to arrive. If you'd like it sooner than that, order them online, and you'll usually receive them within a few days.

Depending on your installer, you may be able to negotiate with them to include the thinset, grout, and other required materials into their quote. Most are happy to provide this anyway as they have their go-to brands, so keep this in mind.


Final Thoughts

Unless there is a compelling reason to use a different material for your kitchen backsplash, stick with one of the five reviewed in this guide, and you can't go wrong.

Figure out how often you use your cooking area, then go with a material that both suits your lifestyle and looks great. Keep in mind that kitchen backsplashes transition between the countertops and cabinets, so the more you can pull from both, the better flow you will have.

The other option is to use a completely different color as a contrast. Both are beautiful, so it's going to get down to your taste.

Finally, don't shy away from a particular material because of the price. Remember, most backsplashes range between 30-50 square feet, so you're not looking at large areas like if you were doing your floors.

I hope this overview has been of help selecting the best backsplash tile for your kitchen!

Please reach out should you have any questions.

LED shower light
Recent project. LED lights can really make your shower pop!

"What is the best shower, tub, vanity faucet to buy?" is one of the most common questions I receive with almost every bathroom remodel we do.

Having worked extensively with many clients and plumbers over the past 18 years on thousands of bathroom remodels; I've quickly learnt some handy tips that I feel can help you as you go through the bathroom remodeling process.

So I've put together this brief guide to help you pick out your faucets for your own project; without sacrificing quality.

It can actually be quite a fun process once you realize what's out there so let's get straight into it!

 

Faucets Are Art

Okay, the first thing I want you to keep in mind is to realize faucets - whether for your shower, tub or anything else and whether they are single or double handle, wall mount, etc. are unlike other things on the market.

Usually, the more you pay; the better something is. Not quite with faucets. There are some exceptions of course like those with motion sensors, advanced droplet technology, LED lights, etc. but by and large, faucets are art. 

A special order $2,500.00 solid, cast iron tub faucet imported from Europe is not necessarily better than a $250.00 alloy one. In fact, it's a royal pain in the ass trying to source parts for the more exclusive pieces so direct your attention to your well known brands that have service and parts centers all over the country.

The other thing to keep in mind is what are you looking to create?

Just a nice looking, simple bathroom that has the basic necessities or your own oasis that you want to splurge on? All faucets essentially perform the same primary purpose of turning water on and off with temperature control. So it really gets down to how fancy you want to be.

 

Best Bang For Your Buck

Ok with so many options, it's overwhelming - so where do you start?

Look, it's actually really simple: If you want great quality and a good selection then you are going to be very happy buying faucets for your shower, tub or vanity from the following brands:

  1. Moen
  2. Kohler
  3. Delta
  4. American Standard

These brands are what most of the clients I work with buy because they have served this need for many decades. They're reliable and a safe go-to option whether you're a seasoned remodeler or if you have absolutely no idea where to start. So stick with these four and don't confuse yourself! They all usually have every faucet type at an affordable price; from lower to higher end.

Best place to buy them? 

Amazon.

Sure, you can buy them from speciality stores, local retailers or through a designer (don't do that) but the overwhelming majority of clients I work with order them from Amazon because:

 

 

Of course, you don't have to limit yourself to those four brands but the vast majority do for the reasons cited above. You can explore other brands if you like a specific look the others don't offer.  Just make sure you ask your plumber beforehand if he has experience with the brand you're looking to get because many plumbers don't have experience with the lesser known products and hence, could well not install them correctly.

 

Are There Unique Options?

Okay, so now you narrowed down the type and brand; what if you want something a little more eye catching than the standard shower faucet/head combo? Something more than selecting between black, chrome, oil rubbed bronze, etc. Lucky for you, there are a couple of really nice options that have a wow factor which you can customize to your needs:

 

Rainhead & LED

rainhead shower
Supersize Rainhead + LED Lighting = WOW

One of the fastest growing segments is waterproof LED shower lights.

Having worked with them, I must admit they do look super cool 🙂 Just something about water coming out in a certain color from a shower head that makes them fun for kids and adults alike! If this is for you, then you can get just about every type of shower faucet with an LED light option these days.

Rainhead/rainfall/ceiling mounted shower heads have been popular for many years and still are. As the name indicates, it's installed from above; either the ceiling or wall whereby the water 'rains down' straight over you instead of spraying on an angle.

Users say it gives them a more complete shower faster, thereby conserving water than wall mounted ones.

They definitely give your shower a unique vibe and they also come in many different sizes, from your regular sized 12-inch squares and circles to the monster 20-inch ones (pictured) apparently designed to bathe mammoths.

You can browse different styles of rainhead shower heads here.

 

Shower Towers

Another increasing trend is the sleek looking shower tower which you can browse here.

shower tower

They are handy because they come in rainhead formats with LED lighting if required and they offer you the convenience of controlling everything from a central panel. So for example, the temperature, pressure and hand held can all be selected with one touch.

Customers like these because they're visually appealing and give you all the functions you need but in a different look than conventional shower set ups. Many come with their own jets and sprays so these do particularly well in larger showers. Plumbers also love them because they're actually quite easy to install.

 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it - a quick and painless way to simplify your shower faucet quest.

Remember to go with what works for you and not necessarily the most expensive option. These are essentially art so spending extra won't mean a superior product in this case.

Quick tip: When selecting the color/finish of your shower faucet, ask the shower glass company to color match the hinges and door handle with it for that extra touch. It's a minor detail but one that's often missed.

There is no "best" shower faucet per se; only the best in its respective category. Be sure to check out the product reviews on Amazon to get an idea of it's overall quality and satisfaction.

Stick with the proven quadrant of Moen, Kohler, Delta and American Standard since their combined product lines are more than enough for most folks to select from. Finally, be sure to get a qualified and competent plumber to install your new fixtures and you'll enjoy them for many years to come.

I hope this has been helpful.

Please reach out to me should you have any questions; I'm always happy to help!

 

If you have a hardwood floor, fixing scratches and repairing dings is part of life. Foot traffic, pets, furniture moving around, and even accidents can scratch or ding your wood floors. The question is, when do you try to fix your floor yourself, and when do you need to hire a professional?

Please see the table below for a summary and the explanations further down if required:

[table id=9 /]

You can check out good quality touch-up pens here.

Here are three simple steps to help you decide which course of action to take:

Step 1 - What Type Of Wood Do You Have?

How you repair the scratch will depend on what sort of wood you have. Is it solid or engineered? If you are unsure, please see here for a detailed explanation.

Most solid wood floors have a polyurethane finish (either oil or water-based), and most prefinished engineered have an aluminum oxide finish or something similar.

Step 2 - What's The Damage?

Okay, now you know what type of wood you have, the next thing to work out is; if the scratch is in the finish or the wood itself?

Here's how to tell:

Fix Wood Floor Scratches

Stand at an angle to the scratch a few feet away, so the light hits it, and you can see the damage.

Now keep your eyes on the spot and move towards it until you're standing directly above it.

If you no longer see it or it becomes not as obvious, then the scratch is in the finish, not the actual wood. If, however, you see it clear as day, like in this picture, then you have damage to the wood itself.

Now assess the area - are you looking to touch up a few minor spots, or do you have extensive damage all over?

Step 3 - Action!

Ok, please read very carefully here as this can be the difference between quickly fixing scratches in your hardwood floor and incurring a much more significant expense to do so.

Solid Wood Floors

You don't need to resand and refinish your entire floor!

Screen and recoats involve taking off polyurethane coats and applying fresh coats. This will rejuvenate your floors and make them look brand new again without the expense of resanding or even completely redoing your wood floors.

Be sure to screen and recoat the entire area affected and connecting areas; otherwise, there will be a difference in the finish. Contact a professional; don't attempt this yourself if you don't have the proper tools and/or experience.

Here's a recent one we did:

There are too many variables affecting the finish, like time, wear, application consistency, etc., so do it right and refinish everything if you're picky about this.

If any of the boards are too severely damaged, replacing them via lace-in is your best option.

Contact a professional; don't attempt this yourself if you don't have the proper tools and/or experience.

Engineered Wood Floors

Protecting Your Floor

Once you've repaired your floor, it's good common sense to use sliders and/or high-quality furniture pads like these to protect your floors from future damage. Area rugs, keeping your dog's nails trimmed, and taking your shoes off inside all help to protect and prolong the life of your hardwood floor.

Remember to know your limitations!

If you can comfortably touch up a few minor scratches on your own, then no problem. However, trying to resand or refinish your floor without adequate knowledge, tools and experience will be a costly mistake.

I hope this overview helped - please reach out should you have any other questions.

Best of luck with your project!

5 Tips To Help You Buy Laminate Flooring Online For Less

 

buy cheap laminate floor
Good quality lasts.

If you're thinking of buying cheap laminate flooring online, then please listen up! (If you just want to shop the best stores to buy from, go here)

I have worked with online flooring stores as well as retail for over 15 years so I just wanted to offer some insight into the entire purchase process. You'll save yourself a lot of headaches and inconvenience by simply understanding what you're buying beforehand.

 

What To Look For

The biggest mistake people make in buying laminate online is to just look at super cheap products. Simply put, you get what you pay for so it's important to evaluate your options and not just seek out liquidation type sales.

Look for:

 

 

 

Many of the cheaper brands do not have transitions believe it or not so you are left to try and mix and match with other manufacturers.

The problem here is that moldings and flooring are usually made out two different factories so it's very difficult to get a good blend as it is. If you come across this then you're going to have to take a sample of the floor and try to match it with something from a local store which defeats the purpose of buying it online.

 

1. Square Foot Price Vs Landed Cost

Pay very close attention here.

The temptation is to just buy the cheapest laminate flooring from an online store, Home Depot or Lowes. However you need to be aware of hidden costs.

It's not just the cost of the product you should look at since this is a typical ploy many companies use to lure you in.

Yes sure, they may have $1/sq. ft. or less laminate but what you really want to look at is your landed cost NOT the cost per square foot.

Why?

Well, because your landed cost is basically your bottom line - meaning the total amount paid for getting the material to your home. This includes all handling, shipping, fees, taxes and any other charges you are required to pay.

How do you work your landed cost out?

It's super easy: go ahead and put in your cart all the material you need - flooring, transitions, moldings, underlayment (pad) - then go to checkout and it will list for you the total of the items, tax, fees and shipping. Subtract any coupons/discounts and you have your landed cost. Then do that with 1-2 other stores for the very best deal possible.

So when you are comparing a product from different stores, make sure you're looking at the landed cost and not the advertised price per foot.

laminate flooring with shoes

 

2. Purchase Policies

There are two types of policies you need to be aware of. The first is the store purchase policy the second is the internet purchase policy:

 

Store Purchase Policy

This is very straightforward; it just means to check with the online store of their terms and conditions.

Some stores like Home Depot will take items back or exchange them. Other stores however, have a no return / no refund policy so just check with each one to make sure you are good with everything.

The reason why this is important is because if you get shipped defective product or anything happens you can always have some sort of solution. I'd steer clear of many of these unknown warehouse type stores that seem to be popping up everywhere. From my experiences, many of them have a "all sales are final" type policy.

Yes, once you purchase the product, they wash their hands of it.

 

Internet Purchase Policy

This is much more important because most people are not aware it exists.

Every flooring manufacturer has an Internet Purchase Policy which means they spell out whether they will honor any warranty claims from products purchased over the Internet. Some companies are completely fine with that and others specifically exclude internet purchases from their warranty coverage.

If you cannot find a manufacturer's internet policy on this, then I'd question if their products are worth buying.

Now if you are just wanting to buy some cheap stuff for a rental and intent to replace the floors every few years then this may not be an issue. However if you want to protect your investment then that is definitely something to keep in mind.

 

3. Cheap Laminate Vs Higher Quality 

cheap laminate floor being cleaned
Good quality laminate has tight joints and clear finish.

Again, you get what you pay for.

The main differences between a cheap and higher quality laminate floor are substantial. Most cheap laminates have very thin wear layers layers like 6mm whereas the better quality ones can go up to 20. This is very important as the top wear layer is what is exposed to foot traffic and wear and tear.

After the wear layer, look at the locking system.

How easy is it install and are the joints tight or do they separate? This is critical because the tighter it is the less chance you have any water or moisture getting through.

The third thing you notice is the cheaper the laminate, the less selection you have. The better brands have much wider color and texture options for you.

Now if you don't care about any of this stuff, then cheap laminate flooring is a good option since it'll go down fine and look ok for a few years but at the same time; it will also date quickly, damage easier and need to be replaced sooner. 

 

4. Transitions & Underlayment

Watch out!

Sometimes stores can sell you laminate for under $1 a foot then jack up the pad, moldings and transitions to exorbitant amounts to make up their margins. Be smarter than that.

As a guide, don't pay more than $35 for your transitions per piece although it can vary depending on their length. Some also are 2-in-1 or even 5-in1 and can go towards $50 per piece. Stair pieces are more expensive so it's not out of the ordinary to pay more for those.

That's a general rule of thumb so if you see $70 laminate transitions, just laugh and buy something else (unless you only need 1 piece).

 

5. Price Matching 

Some companies price match, others don't.

You would think a company that does price match will have the lowest prices but that's not what I've found in my experiences. The general trend I've seen is the company with the no price matching policy tends to have a more turnkey pricing structure that factors in shipping and other fees; so their margins are already very low.

The ones that price match are the ones that tend to have slightly higher prices but I noticed they also have better selection for some odd reason.

Something else to keep in mind that many people don't know about regarding Home Depot's price matching policy: They will only match pricing between retail stores. They will not honor this online.


Best Stores To Buy From

Many years experience has shown me the best places online to buy laminate flooring from and the ones to stay away from. I personally would stay clear of Lumber Liquidators as not only have I not had positive experiences with them, but they have had a lot of problems with their laminate flooring products carrying too much unacceptable, toxic levels of formaldehyde.

The stores below are ones my clients and I have regularly purchased from over the years:

[table id=8 /]

 

Final Thoughts 

Well, there you have it - 5 tips to help you for your project.

You can get great deals on laminate flooring online, no doubt but from my experience, they generally do not come from any closeout offers, discount warehouses or a liquidation stock clearance. They come from established companies who run many great specials throughout the whole year.

The problem with going to one of those little known discount places is you simply don't know what you're getting quality wise and the operation doesn't always stick around.

I have had many customers over the years, purchase large quantities of laminate online for a "too good to be true" price only to learn after they received it, that it was seconds or it was breaking into pieces during the installation.

They couldn't return it either because "all purchases are final". Sucks yes, but that's what usually happens when folks get wide eyed at the first massively discounted offer.

The stores reviewed here are established brands who have a strong online presence and legitimate operations.

Think of it this way: spending just an extra $0.25 a square foot on a product will only run you $250.00 additional per 1,000 feet. Now when you factor in how many years it will be down, you begin to see value over price every single time!

Very good to higher quality laminate flooring products range between the $2.00 - $4.00+ range.

Go for the best value laminate rather than the cheapest priced one and you will be a lot happier all round.

I hope this overview has been of help to you - best of luck!

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